A scam has slowly made its way around the country and is hitting new areas now targeting college students.

Scam: Fake Police Loan Calls

Who Is It Targeting: College Students

What Is It: College students are receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be a police officer and that the student has past due student loans. The scam is a bit more sophisticated than some phone scams as the scammers have made it so that the caller ID that shows up when the scammers call is that of the local police station. This is not a new technique, but it is very effective in fooling consumers into thinking the phone call is legitimate. The college student is called by name and told that if they do not pay the past due balance on the student loan (which doesn’t exist in the first place), they will be arrested or lose current financial aid. If the victim does agree to pay the “fine” or “past due balance”, they are asked to do so by giving their credit card information over the phone and the credit card is then charged.

What Are They After: Direct Payment

How Can You Avoid It: While there is no way to avoid receiving the phone call in the first place, individuals can avoid dealing with it any further than that. The fact is that law enforcement will never call anyone and threaten to arrest them.  Therefore the moment that that threat is made, or the student is told there is a warrant for their arrest, the student should hang up. Furthermore, law enforcement is not going to call you to inform consumers about past due bills.  Bottom line, anyone who is targeted in this scam should hang up as soon as they realize it.  If they are still concerned, they can look up the non-emergency phone number for the police department which supposedly called them and explore the incident.